Taking Case Management to the Next Level

Case Management is more than just a “piece of software” like a word processor; it is meant to be integral to the way you practice your trade.  A well designed system is like a good Porche – zero to 100 in ten seconds flat.

Within ten seconds of a client inquiry, you will have the answer you need to their question (or the question that you wanted the client to answer).

You Want Some Reasons?

Here are some reasons to have a case management system like Time Matters…

Care and Feeding of Existing Clients

What better reason than because your clients demand it. You may not realize, but most client believe (hell they know) that they are the center of the universe and that you are merely there to serve them. Because of this, they expect that when they call, when the e-mail, page or instant message, you can get back to them with the answer or status of their case. What an electronic file (like Time Matters) can do, is give you the ability to satisfy them. Within 2 click, you have the complete case history, another click, you can open any related document, another click and you can post a reply email and pop in a clipboard of data from their file answering their questions. Keep you clients well fed with information and services and they will give you more work.

Effective Prospecting of New Clients

At some point you will to gain more clients.  Even if you are working full-out, you need to grow and have protection if that anchor client leaves you, a need to diversify.  That is where case management software really helps.  Every contact with your firm, whether via email, phone, snail mail or encounter is logged.  Then, when you have a break from “real work” you have a list of prospects that you can “call”.  Or you can prepare a newsletter, and in a few clicks have an “email list” to send it out, or for the more traditional, generate a set of mailing labels to put on a printed newsledtter.

Consolidation of All Matter Information

Case management is sometimes called Matter Management …. because the matter is one of the central features of the case management system.  In the old days, the secretary would open a file – a physical file folder with several subfolders for pleadings, correspondence, contracts, notes, reasearch etc.  The file would sit in your office, or by your secretaries desk, and every piece of paper, note, call etc. would be placed into the file.  Now, several peices never got into that file.  And other pieces would get pulled out of that file, never to be found again.  The solution is the “electronic file,” a central feature to any case management system.  From a “Matter Record” in Time Matters, with a single click you can see a complete timeline of all related files, or see all calls and their contents in a powerview, or view the billing history and status, or just check for the return dates for motions.

Better Work Product

When the case management system is integrated with document automation, either document assembly or merge templates, the work product that comes out meets minimum standards of quality often far greater than the average workproduct from scratch.  Not only is the quality better, but the product takes just seconds (or minutes) to create.  Link Time Matters with HotDocs, and you can just print money.

Organization of All Critical Documents

Whether the case management system is integrated with a free-standing document management system (like Worldox or iManage) or whether you use the built in document profiling schema, your document are now tied to your electronic file.  From the Time Matters document profile, in a single click you can see all documents linked to the matter or just the drafts of agreements, or just correspondence or just memos to file.

Take Your Information on the Go

With all this power, you don’t want to leave it at your office.  Time Matters lets you take what you need with you to the court room, to your client site, into the deposition.  With laptop synchronization and PocketPC synchronization, you can have what you need at your fingertips, whereever and whenever.

Law Practice Management -The Business Plan

Practice management is different from case management; any good business plan should include a strategy for processing leadsPractice management is different from case management. Case management begins once the client is signed up and the case is opened. Law Practice Management begins with at the door, at the web portal, as the auro that surrounds you in your everyday interaction. It is part of everything you do.

Just as you would invest in a product like Time Matters to manage your cases so that you can better serve your clients, get the necessary Time Matters training, retain the requisite Time Matters consultant, so you would wish to invest in growing your practice.

How many of you have written a business plan for your law practice? How many of you have sat down and laid out a P&L for your practice, identifying those areas where you would get the most return on investment.

I know these actions seem to be a thankless task. When you are already plugging away for 60 hours a week and trying to make ends meet, to have so “guru” tell you to take another 10 hours to develop a business plan.

But that is what I am doing. For if you look at your law practice with a critical “business eye” you will see that some of your activities are more “profitable”. You may decide that other activities are more fun (and less profitable), so that you should budget time for those activities.

Any good business plan should include a strategy for processing leads … a formal marketing plan that identifies where those leads are likely to come, and how to best turn those leads into paying (and profitable clients). One area, often overlooked in these plans, which call for fancy web sites, expensive “glossy pamplets” and strategic print adds, is the phone and email. Because the phone and email are perceived as “cheap” they are undervalued as a source of leads by many attorneys.

The phone call

Use Time Matters to log “every phone call”. This will give you a wealth of information and a baseline to determine which phone calls get converted into paying clients. Every call that comes in should be logged, and every called profiled as a contact. If you haven’t check, phone calls are now practically free with unlimited calling time phone plans. And if you get the person on the phone, they will listen for a minute or two.

The email

This mechanism has been most over-rated. The V&*#iag#$ra ads and other tonic sellers have destroyed this as an effective mass marking approach. But if you build up e-Newsletters and have subscribers, you can create an awareness among clients and potential clients of your capabilities. Give them content and they will read. Time Matters lets you track the results of your newsletter campaigns. Take a field and convert it to a check box and label it Newsletter. You can then export a list to a mass emailer (or use a Time Matters groups for the mailing).

Law Practice Management-The Business Plan

Practice management is different from case management; any good business plan should include a strategy for processing leads

 

Practice management is different from case management.  Case management begins once the client is signed up and the case is opened.  Law Practice Management begins with at the door, at the web portal, as the auro that surrounds you in your everyday interaction.  It is part of everything you do.

Just as you would invest in a product like Time Matters to manage your cases so that you can better serve your clients, get the necessary Time Matters training, retain the requisite Time Matters consultant, so you would wish to invest in growing your practice.

How many of you have written a business plan for your law practice? How many of you have sat down and laid out a P&L for your practice, identifying those areas where you would get the most return on investment.

I know these actions seem to be a thankless task.  When you are already plugging away for 60 hours a week and trying to make ends meet, to have so “guru” tell you to take another 10 hours to develop a business plan.

But that is what I am doing.  For if you look at your law practice with a critical “business eye” you will see that some of your activities are more “profitable”.  You may decide that other activities are more fun (and less profitable), so that you should budget time for those activities.

Any good business plan should include a strategy for processing leads … a formal marketing plan that identifies where those leads are likely to come, and how to best turn those leads into paying (and profitable clients).  One area, often overlooked in these plans, which call for fancy web sites, expensive “glossy pamplets” and strategic print adds, is the phone and email.  Because the phone and email are perceived as “cheap” they are undervalued as a source of leads by many attorneys.

The phone call

Use Time Matters to log “every phone call”.  This will give you a wealth of information and a baseline to determine which phone calls get converted into paying clients.  Every call that comes in should be logged, and every called profiled as a contact.  If you haven’t check, phone calls are now practically free with unlimited calling time phone plans.  And if you get the person on the phone, they will listen for a minute or two.

The email

This mechanism has been most over-rated.  The V&*#iag#$ra ads and other tonic sellers have destroyed this as an effective mass marking approach.  But if you build up e-Newsletters and have subscribers, you can create an awareness among clients and potential clients of your capabilities.  Give them content and they will read.  Time Matters lets you track the results of your newsletter campaigns.  Take a field and convert it to a check box and label it Newsletter.  You can then export a list to a mass emailer (or use a Time Matters groups for the mailing).

What does “integrated” mean?

What does “integrated” mean?

A good lawyer defines his/her terms, hence a technology expert should define the term “integration” and the levels thereof. Case Management and Practice Management programs talk about “integration” with other programs, whether they be email programs, document management programs, or billing and accounting programs. A good lawyer defines his/her terms. “Integration” is a feature. And yet, not all integrations are equal. Some are better than others. Even in the same firm, integration can have different meanings.

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Practice Systems – Starter Kits

From a collection of templates to a “practice system” interwoven with document assembly – is this a business model that would be of use to all the would-be Basha clients out there? Let us know!

In automating a collection of documents that form a “Practice System” there is inevitable overlap between the information required between the documents constituting the practice system. Properly attacked, there are two phases to such an automation project:

DICTIONARY PHASE

Identifying all the variables and organizing them into a series of dialogs/pages and grouping the dialogs/pages into logical interviews.

TEMPLATE PHASE

Using those variables to markup and code the templates.  Many document assembly tools allow you to drag-and-drop from a dictionary/component file into a document and then save that document as a template in the practice system.

WHAT IF ….

What if the first phase could be eliminated?  What if someone already had a taxonomy of variables and questions that covered most, if not all the questions you needed for the practice system?  Would that be valuable?  Could you use that object? And what would you pay for that convenience which could save you hundreds of hours (and tens of thousands of dollars of opportunity cost developing that dictionary)?

THEN YOU COULD ….

If you had this dictionary of variables, you could then take your forms and drag-and-drop or select-and-wizard, quickly replacing all you matter-specific information and your conditional text with codes.  These could be processed through an automation tool … and voila, you would be done with the automation project.

IS THIS A BUSINESS MODEL?

We are exploring whether this is a possible business model … Is there a market for “practice systems” as taxonomies?  Let us know.